Two inquiries aim to throw light on power blackout – but a switched-on govt should see it’s more than market failure

The  blame-game over  the  Monday  night   power  blackout   has  deepened.

Ministers initially  talked  of  “market  failure” – National accused the government of  being  asleep  at the  wheel

Then ACT said the  government’s energy  policy  was  “flawed”  because  it  puts  carbon emissions  ahead  of  affordable and  secure electricity,  through the ban  on  natural  gas  exploration.

The   Green Party,  for its  part,  contends the  “gentailers” are  more focused on chasing  profits than providing   more affordable,  more  renewable, and  more  secure  electricity  generation.   

Meanwhile  two small players in the electricity market have made a formal complaint to the Electricity Authority following Monday’s rolling blackouts. Continue reading “Two inquiries aim to throw light on power blackout – but a switched-on govt should see it’s more than market failure”

How to reduce waste and where to go for public funding to finance your project

Point of Order has been sniffing into waste – or, more precisely, the minimisation of waste – since Environment Minister David Parker announced a $20.5m investment to reduce waste going to landfill in the Bay of Plenty

Parker said the $20.5m had been dished out to the Tauranga City Council from the Government’s Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) to support essential waste infrastructure projects in Tauranga that also serve the broader Bay of Plenty region.

“Our support to the Tauranga City Council’s city waste infrastructure project is another example of the Government’s commitment to accelerating regional New Zealand’s recovery from the impacts of Covid-19. 

“The project is a collaboration with private industry. It will create jobs and minimise waste going to landfill in the Bay of Plenty.”

But don’t we have a Waste Minimisation Fund for this sort of thing? Continue reading “How to reduce waste and where to go for public funding to finance your project”

NZ First might seem washed up but Kaikohe’s water storage project (helped by the PGF) wins fast-flow consent

Hurrah – someone in the Beehive is back in the business of braying about the approval of the spending of public money.

Fair to say, it seems the Government did not actually make the decision to approve a new water storage reservoir in Northland, the first of several infrastructure projects

 … earmarked for a speedy consenting process that aims to accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

But Environment Minister David Parker said the government did welcome the decision.

He made something of a meal of it, actually, banging on about a veritable trifecta of virtues.  The project will –

  • Boost the economic recovery from Covid-19;
  • Protect environmental standards; and
  • Satisfy Treaty of Waitangi principles.

If the project did not pass muster in the Treaty department, would the plug have been pulled?    Continue reading “NZ First might seem washed up but Kaikohe’s water storage project (helped by the PGF) wins fast-flow consent”

Sediment, jobs and mauri – Minister responds to questions about measuring progress on Kaipara cleanup

We found nothing new, in our daily check of the Beehive website.  But we can report the reply to questions that were raised in an announcement from Environment Minister David Parker (which we noted at the time) earlier this month.

The announcement was headed Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step.

In this, Parker announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils

“ …  to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland.”

In August 2019 the Kaipara was named as the first “exemplar” or “at-risk” catchment to receiving backing as part of the Government’s work alongside local communities and iwi to improve water quality.

In this year’s Budget, as part of the Jobs for Nature package, the Government committed $100 million towards the remediation of Kaipara Moana, New Zealand’s largest estuarine ecosystem, with a matching $100 million contribution from local councils and landowners.  Continue reading “Sediment, jobs and mauri – Minister responds to questions about measuring progress on Kaipara cleanup”

PACER Plus to take effect in 60 days after Cook Islands ratifies it

The Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify PACER Plus, enabling the Pacific regional trade and development agreement to enter into force in 60 days.

Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker has welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands ratified the agreement, which required eight ratifications to take effect.

Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and New Zealand are the eight signatories.  The remaining signatories that have not yet ratified the agreement are Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

PACER Plus will make trade easier for signatories to the agreement, which will grow jobs, boost sustainable economic growth and contribute to a safer and more prosperous Pacific, Parker said. Continue reading “PACER Plus to take effect in 60 days after Cook Islands ratifies it”

Whatever trade gains are made in NZ-UK trade talks, we should brace to share them with Australia and the US

Trade Minister David Parker is gung-ho about getting a trade deal with the UK sewn up. He says NZ and the UK have strong trade and economic ties.

“NZ is pleased to be among the first countries to negotiate a trade agreement with one of our oldest friends”.

With a New Zealander, Crawford Falconer, in charge of the UK trade negotiating team, Parker, like the rest of the country, will be hoping for a favourable deal.

But as the UK is getting to grips with what NZ is seeking, it is also locked in negotiations with Australia and – moreover – is looking to seal trade deals with the US and Japan.  In that context, the negotiation with NZ may seem only a footnote.

For NZ, the difficulty may be that if it gets a deal done first with concessions from the UK, particularly on dairy and meat, then the UK may feel obliged to offer the same terms to Australia, and perhaps even the US.

The same day Parker was announcing the trade talks between NZ and the UK are to kick off,  Aussie Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, in Canberra, was telling Australians he was seeking an FTA with the UK and was aiming to “open up new doors for our farmers, businesses and investors”. Continue reading “Whatever trade gains are made in NZ-UK trade talks, we should brace to share them with Australia and the US”

While malcontents assail historical links with Britain, Parker puts NZ on course to shape a trade partnership through an FTA

Latest from the Beehive

The best news from the Beehive since we reported yesterday is that New Zealand and the UK have formally launched free trade negotiations.

At least, it’s the best news from a national perspective.  Farmers in drought areas may well be more heartened by the government’s decision to pump an extra $3 million into the Drought Recovery Advice Fund.  This is designed to help hundreds of farmers and growers recover from drought “and prepare their businesses to better meet future needs”, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor reminded us.

Significant drought has affected many parts of New Zealand and this fund will provide relief across all of the North Island, the Chatham Islands, Christchurch, Marlborough, Nelson, Tasman, Selwyn, Kaikoura, and Waimakariri districts and regions.

But farmers should be just as delighted by Parker’s announcement that New Zealand is among the first countries to negotiate a trade agreement “with one of our oldest friends”. Continue reading “While malcontents assail historical links with Britain, Parker puts NZ on course to shape a trade partnership through an FTA”

Parker has kept the trade channels open – now let’s see how Robertson’s budget can boost production

Audrey  Young, political editor  of the  NZ  Herald,  writes   that  Jacinda Ardern  has  her  A team to handle  the Covid-19 crisis and then her  AAA team.  There are  four members in the A team – herself,  Grant Robertson, Winston Peters and David  Parker.

They are  keeping watch on the  bigger picture to how  NZ emerges from the crisis. Her  AAA  team  has one member, Robertson”.

Point of  Order  won’t  quibble  with Young’s  arithmetic  on the  AAA team because the point  she is  seeking to make  is valid:  Robertson  is  now  the undisputed leader  in Labour’s   bus test — the  informal test that answers who would  take over  if the leader accidentally  fell  under a  bus.

It would be Robertson, no question. Kelvin  Davis is deputy in  name  only”.    

As  Young notes,  when  Robertson  deputises  for  Ardern, it is  an  effortless  switch.

Robertson will  consolidate  his  position  in the  Labour  hierarchy  if he succeeds  this week in  building a smooth  road to  recovery  in  this week’s  budget.

Behind  the Ardern-Robertson   leadership  in the  Covid-19   crisis,  David  Parker  has  supplied  much of the  intellectual  grunt. Continue reading “Parker has kept the trade channels open – now let’s see how Robertson’s budget can boost production”

A fast-track environmental test to short-circuit the RMA is welcome but fast-track projects should pass a business test, too

The government  is to  short-circuit  the   unwieldy  and  time-wasting  Resource Management Act  to fast-track   projects  it likes to call  “shovel-ready”  as  a  major  element  of its plan to get the economy up and running  again.

Environment Minister  David Parker  says:

We went hard and early to beat the virus and now we’re doing the same to get the economy moving too. The success of our health response gives us a head start on the world to get our economy moving again and this fast tracking process will allow our economic recovery to accelerate”

In effect  the government  is   recognising  the RMA  legislation is  obsolescent, a  block to   economic  progress.  As  ACT’s  David Seymour pointed out, the 900-page RMA is the single biggest impediment to progress, and to housing affordability in particular.

In  accepting that the consenting and approval processes previously  used don’t provide the speed and certainty  needed now in response to the economic fallout from COVID-19,  Parker  says environmental safeguards remain.  The resource consent applications for these projects will be processed by an Expert Consenting Panel.

But this is  the  telling  line in  Parker’s  announcement: Continue reading “A fast-track environmental test to short-circuit the RMA is welcome but fast-track projects should pass a business test, too”

You could try going to court to flush out legal advice on Police powers – but don’t expect a hearing in a hurry

It shouldn’t be necessary, in the circumstances, but the Government is being urged to release the legal advice it has received about Police being able to enforce the lockdown rules.

National’s Justice spokesperson, Mark Mitchell, today  issued a press release saying the government has a duty to release this advice.

There is “huge confusion” among the public about what the rules are, with both the Prime Minister and former Police Commissioner contradicting each other, Mitchell contends.

“Even now with the Section 70 notice from the Ministry of Health it’s important New Zealanders understand what powers the Police have and how those decisions have been made.

 When the entire country is in lockdown, the case for public interest could not be higher and far outweighs any decision to withhold the advice, says Mitchell.
Continue reading “You could try going to court to flush out legal advice on Police powers – but don’t expect a hearing in a hurry”